Friday, January 28, 2011

We Have A Right To Feel The Way We Do

We have a right to feel. To feel happy, to feel sad, to feel contemptuous, to feel selfish, to feel all ranges of emotion. So why do people feel the need to completely discredit these emotions?

Look at an example of a college student from a middle class family who has never gone without, never had a real job, doesn't know what hard manual labor is, doesn't know a thing about life's hardships, don't like going to the doctor or the dentist even though their insurance pays for it all, and is loved by all those around them. Sounds like a great life, doesn't it?

So does he or she have a right to be sad or depressed? Yes, he or she does have things to appreciate in their lives, but does the possession of these things in life exclude you from the full range of the emotional spectrum? If you look at it that way, a person with a boss that treats them like an idiot can't complain about it because they have a college degree or any number of good things going for them.

I see this every day. Someone has a wonderful life and a great situation, but they feel down because of something that seems petty to others but may in fact, be important to that individual. Maybe it's because they can't beat a video game. Maybe it's because they were expecting a higher tax refund. Maybe they pulled an all-nighter studying for a math test the next day that got put off for no reason. It doesn't matter. Because without a doubt, someone else is there to remind them that they have it good, that other people would kill to have what they have, and that they should be grateful for their opportunities. The fact that such a person feels anything other than happiness shows that they don't appreciate what they have, or so the other person says.

I'm sorry, but I just can't agree with this line of logic. We are all human. We all have good days and bad ones. We have different problems and successes. Is a rich man less entitled to his emotions, to feel bad, to voice how he feels, than a poor man, just because the rich man has a "better" lifestyle according to some?

Yes, I realize this sounds like an over-privileged whiny kid complaining about how he's sad and you should pity him, but that's not it at all. What I'm trying to get at is that people's emotions, particularly the negative ones, are constantly discredited just because they "seem" to have a better life than someone else. Yes, a college student may have a better life than a high school drop out, but does that mean that the college kid should be happy all the time? Can't they just have, once in a while at least, a little time to feel sad, depressed, angry, selfish, or even a little bit of contempt?

Moral of the story: We are all human. People nowadays seem to forget this fact. We have emotions, and we can't (easily) control them when they are expressed. If a person feels one way, don't make it worse by discrediting those emotions. That solves nothing and if anything just shows the contempt you have for that person.

In short, respect how people feel, and follow Wheaton's Law accordingly.

Agree? Disagree? Got a comment or opinion of your own? Post a comment or contact me and let me know.


Kurtty said...

If humanity was supposed to feel happy all the time, then that would be the only emotion hardwired into our brains. The fact that we feel emotions is what makes us human, or should I say animalistic, because animals can feel emotions as well. People make a big deal when people are sad because they see them as being that whiny emo kid who just wants attention, now I'm not saying emo kids want attention, not all of them anyways.

In this day and age we are told how to feel about something and if we don't feel that way, then to bad. I personally know I have been under a lot of stress about family issues and when I express how I feel it just gets the same line pretty much, "If you don't like it leave". Yet I am not the one causing the problem, simply stating how I feel about the problem. Just like the desktop crashed and stopped working, and since I was the last one on it, I am automatically blamed for breaking it, because apparently I know nothing about computers, yet I spend at least 18 hours a day on a computer.

Anonymous said...

^Senseless argument is senseless